NEWS 1130 is working hard to get you the information you need about the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are responding to your questions in a segment we call NEWS 1130 Gets Answers.
When will major events like rock concerts and hockey games return?
B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has said she will likely begin easing some restrictions next month, but travel restrictions are likely to remain in place for as long as 18 months.
NEWS 1130 asked UBC professor of clinical geography Tom Koch when British Columbians can expect to dine out again and when they might find themselves at a major concert or sports event.
By mid-May people in Vancouver and Victoria will probably see restaurants, bars and coffee shops re-open “as long as a safe distance is maintained between tables in those establishments,” he said.
“Bars will lose half their stools and just standing there will be discouraged. My guess is that 100 people at a downtown bar will be seen as excessive until the earlier stage is shown to be successful and [15,000 people] in an arena would be the last stage … at least September if all goes well,” Koch said, adding, “That is, of course, an ‘if.’ ”
Koch said it’s hard to predict when things will return to some normalcy because many unknowns remain about the novel coronavirus.
“Experts are reluctant to give predictions because, simply, they don’t know. One of the things we really don’t know is whether exposure to the virus means one will have an acquired immunity and at what level, or for how long.”
He also noted that outbreaks of the virus are at different stages depending on the location in the world or even within B.C.
“One size will not fit all,” he said.
“That said, the impetus to ‘ease’ restrictions and permit some businesses to reopen is strong and growing stronger. We’ve seen some countries in Europe where they are doing this and all of us on this side of the Atlantic are watching to see how it works.”